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Life is a state that distinguishes organisms from non-living objects or dead organisms, being manifested by growth through metabolism and reproduction.

Quotes Edit

  • We live in deeds, not years: in thoughts, not breaths;
    In feelings, not in figures on a dial.
    We should count time by heart-throbs. He most lives
    Who thinks most, feels the noblest, acts the best.
  • It matters not how long we live, but how.
  • Life! we've been long together
    Through pleasant and through cloudy weather;
    Tis hard to part when friends are dear,—
    Perhaps 'twill cost a sigh, a tear.
    Then steal away, give little warning.
    Choose thine own time,
    Say not "Good-night," but in some brighter clime,
    Bid me "Good-morning."
  • Still ending, and beginning still.
  • What is it but a map of busy life,
    Its fluctuations, and its vast concerns?
  • One is born, one runs up bills, one dies.
    • Richard Curtis (English screenwriter, actor and film director) and Ben Elton (British-Australian comedian and author). Stated by Rowan Atkinson playing Edmund Blackadder in the BBC situation comedy, Blackadder the Third, episode four, 'Amy and Amiability', 1987.
  • For with you is the source of life;
    By light from you we can see light.
  • Bankrupt of life, yet prodigal of ease.
    • John Dryden, Absalom and Achitophel (1681), line 168.
  • Life's a vast sea
    That does its mighty errand without fail,
    Painting in unchanged strength though waves are changing.
  • Sooner or later that which is now life shall be poetry, and every fair and manly trait shall add a richer strain to the song.
  • When life is true to the poles of nature, the streams of truth will roll through us in song.
  • So likewise all this life of martall men,
    What is it but a certaine kynde of stage plaie?
    Where men come forthe disguised one in one arraie,
    An other in an other eche plaiying his part.
    • Erasmus, Praise of Folie. Challoner's translation (1549), p. 43.
  • The sea is only beautiful if there's a shore. Life is like the sea. There'll be a direction to follow even if you sail more than one day or one life... the promise of a new land is your guide, because you know that the sea is a huge world that's beautiful only if there's a shore.
    • Patricky Field, as quoted in Beautiful if there's a shore (2008) song by Patricky Field.
  • In three words I can sum up everything I've learned about life — It goes on.
    • Robert Frost, as quoted in The Harper Book of Quotations (1993) edited by Robert I. Fitzhenry, p. 261.
  • All the bloomy flush of life is fled.
  • The pregnant quarry teem'd with human form.
  • My secret to a long, healthy life is to always keep working. It keeps me busy and happy, and gives me a reason to stay alive.
    • Johannes Heesters (Dutch-German actor, singer, entertainer and media-personality, worlds oldest living performer)
  • One doth but break-fast here, another dine; he that lives longest does but suppe; we must all goe to bed in another World.
  • If you need something to worship, then worship life — all life, every last crawling bit of it! We're all in this beauty together!
  • Let all live as they would die.
  • The world is like a ride in an amusement park, and when you choose to go on it you think it's real because that's how powerful our minds are. The ride goes up and down, around and around, it has thrills and chills, and it's very brightly colored, and it's very loud, and it's fun for a while. Many people have been on the ride a long time, and they begin to wonder, "Hey, is this real, or is this just a ride?" And other people have remembered, and they come back to us and say, "Hey, don't worry; don't be afraid, ever, because this is just a ride." And we … kill those people. "Shut him up! I've got a lot invested in this ride, shut him up! Look at my furrows of worry, look at my big bank account, and my family. This has to be real." It's just a ride. But we always kill the good guys who try and tell us that, you ever notice that? And let the demons run amok … But it doesn't matter, because it's just a ride. And we can change it any time we want. It's only a choice. No effort, no work, no job, no savings of money. Just a simple choice, right now, between fear and love. The eyes of fear want you to put bigger locks on your doors, buy guns, close yourself off. The eyes of love instead see all of us as one. Here's what we can do to change the world, right now, to a better ride.' Take all that money we spend on weapons and defenses each year and instead spend it feeding and clothing and educating the poor of the world, which it would pay for many times over, not one human being excluded, and we could explore space, together, both inner and outer, forever, in peace.
  • No arts; no letters; no society; and which is worst of all, continual fear, and danger of violent death; and the life of man, solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short.
    • Thomas Hobbes, Leviathan (1651), Part I, Of Man, Chapter XVIII.
  • Life is nothing more but a grace period for turning the best of our genetic material into the next generation.
    • Solidus Snake Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty (2001)
  • The life so short, the craft so long to learn.
    • Hippocrates, Aphorisms, I. i</br>Often translated in Latin as:</br>Ars longa, vita brevis
  • Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.
    • Jesus, in John 17:3 (NIV)
    • Variants:
    • And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.
      • John 17:3 (KJV)
    • This means everlasting life, their taking in knowledge of you, the only true God, and of the one whom you sent forth, Jesus Christ.
  • Life is a pill which none of us can bear to swallow without gilding.
  • I compare human life to a large mansion of many apartments, two of which I can only describe, the doors of the rest being as yet shut upon me.
  • If you are eating well and your condition is pure and clean, life itself becomes like the dreams or visions that you have when sleeping.
  • The mystery of life is not a problem to be solved; it is a reality to be experienced.
    • Jacobus Johannes Leeuw, The Conquest of Illusion (1928), p. 9
  • Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans.
  • Hey, hey, hey. A life. A life, Jimmy. Do you know what that is? It's the shit that happens while you're waiting for moments that never come.
    • Lester Freamon to Jimmy McNulty, The Wire
  • What shall we call this undetermin'd state,
    This narrow isthmus 'twixt two boundless oceans,
    That whence we came, and that to which we tend?
    • George Lillo, Arden of Feversham (posthumously performed in 1759), Act III, scene 2.
  • This life of ours is a wild æolian harp of many a joyous strain,
    But under them all there runs a loud perpetual wail, as of souls in pain.
  • Life hath set
    No landmarks before us.
    • Owen Meredith (Lord Lytton), Lucile (1860), Pt II, Canto V, Stanza 14.
  • When life leaps in the veins, when it beats in the heart,
    When it thrills as it fills every animate part,
    Where lurks it? how works it? * * * we scarcely detect it.
    • Owen Meredith (Lord Lytton), Lucile (1860), Part II, Canto I, Stanza 5.
  • For men to tell how human life began
    Is hard; for who himself beginning knew?
  • Nor love thy life, nor hate; but what thou liv'st
    Live well; how long or short permit to heav'n.
  • A narrow isthmus 'twixt two boundless seas,
    The past, the future, two eternities.
    • Thomas Moore, Lalla Rookh (1817), Veiled Prophet. Idea given as a quotation in the Spectator. No. 590, Sept. 6, 1714.
  • Life is a process of becoming, a combination of states we have to go through. Where people fail is that they wish to elect a state and remain in it. This is a kind of death.
    • Anaïs Nin, in D. H. Lawrence: An Unprofessional Study (1932)
  • We write to taste life twice, in the moment, and in retrospection. We write, like Proust, to render all of it eternal, and to persuade ourselves that it is eternal. We write to be able to transcend our life, to reach beyond it.
    • Anaïs Nin, entry for February 1954, in The Diary of Anaïs Nin, Vol. 5 as quoted in Woman as Writer (1978) by Jeannette L. Webber and Joan Grumman, p. 38
  • Life shrinks or expands according to one's courage.
    • Anaïs Nin, as quoted in French Writers of the Past (2000) by Carol A. Dingle, p. 126
  • Ah Love! could you and I with him conspire
    To grasp this sorry Scheme of Things entire
    Would we not shatter it to bits—and then
    Re-mould it nearer to the Heart's Desire?
  • Think, in this batter'd Caravanserai
    Whose portals are alternate Night and Day,
    How Sultan after Sultan with his Pomp
    Abode his destin'd Hour and went his way.
  • A Moment's Halt—a momentary taste
    Of BEING from the Well amid the Waste—
    And, Lo! the phantom Caravan has reach'd
    The NOTHING it set out from. Oh, make haste!
  • But helpless Pieces of the Game He plays
    Upon this Checker-board of Nights and Days;
    Hither and thither moves, and checks, and slays,
    And one by one back in the Closet lays.
  • And fear not lest Existence closing your
    Account should lose or know the type no more:
    The Eternal Sáki from that Bowl has poured
    Millions of Bubbles like us and will pour.
  • You've got to understand life, understand it when you're young.
  • Let us (since life can little more supply
    Than just to look about us and to die)
    Expatiate free o'er all this scene of man;
    A mighty maze! but not without a plan.
  • Placed on this isthmus of a middle state.
  • Fix'd like a plant on his peculiar spot,
    To draw nutrition, propagate and rot.
  • On life's vast ocean diversely we sail,
    Reason the card, but passion is the gale.
  • Like bubbles on the sea of matter borne,
    They rise, they break, and to that sea return.
  • Like following life through creatures you dissect,
    You lose it in the moment you detect.
  • See how the World its Veterans rewards!
    A Youth of Frolics, an old Age of Cards;
    Fair to no purpose, artful to no end,
    Young without Lovers, old without a Friend;
    A Fop their Passion, but their Prize a Sot;
    Alive ridiculous, and dead forgot.
  • It was said that life was cheap in Ankh-Morpork. This was, of course, completely wrong. Life was often very expensive; you could get death for free.
  • Our Life is nothing but a Winter's day;
    Some only break their Fast, and so away:
    Others stay to Dinner, and depart full fed:
    The deepest Age but Sups, and goes to Bed:
    He's most in debt that lingers out the Day:
    Who dies betime, has less, and less to pay.
    • Francis Quarles, Divine Fancies, On The Life of Man (1633). Quoted in different forms for epitaphs.
  • Et là commençay à penser qu'il est bien vray ce que l'on dit, que la moitié du monde ne sçait comment l'aultre vit.
    And there I began to think that it is very true, which is said, that half the world does not know how the other half lives.
  • Vivat, fifat, pipat, bibat.
    May he live, fife, pipe, drink.
    • François Rabelais, Pantagruel (1532), Book IV, Chapter 53. Called by Epistemon, "O secret apocalyptique." It suggests "Old King Cole."
  • Brief and powerless is man's life; on him and all his race the slow, sure doom falls pitiless and dark.
  • And this our life, exempt from public haunt,
    Finds tongues in trees, books in the running brooks,
    Sermons in stones, and good in everything.
  • Why, what should be the fear?
    I do not set my life at a pin's fee.
  • O gentlemen, the time of life is short!
    To spend that shortness basely were too long,
    If life did ride upon a dial's point,
    Still ending at the arrival of an hour.
  • I cannot tell what you and other men
    Think of this life; but, for my single self,
    I had as lief not be as live to be
    In awe of such a thing as I myself.
  • This day I breathed first: time is come round,
    And where I did begin there shall I end;
    My life is run his compass.
  • Life is as tedious as a twice-told tale,
    Vexing the dull ear of a drowsy man.
  • When we are born, we cry, that we are come
    To this great stage of fools.
  • Nor stony tower, nor walls of beaten brass,
    Nor airless dungeon, nor strong links of iron,
    Can be retentive to the strength of spirit;
    But life, being weary of these worldly bars,
    Never lacks power to dismiss itself.
  • That but this blow
    Might be the be-all and the end-all here,
    But here, upon this bank and shoal of time,
    We'ld jump the life to come.
  • Had I but died an hour before this chance,
    I had liv'd a blessed time; for, from this instant,
    There's nothing serious in mortality:
    All is but toys; renown, and grace is dead;
    The wine of life is drawn, and the mere lees
    Is left this vault to brag of.
  • So weary with disasters, tugg'd with fortune,
    That I would set my life on any chance,
    To mend, or be rid on't.
  • Out, out, brief candle!
    Life's but a walking shadow,
    A poor player that struts and frets his hour upon the stage, and then is heard no more:
    it is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.
  • Her father lov'd me; oft invited me;
    Still question'd me the story of my life,
    From year to year, the battles, sieges, fortunes,
    That I have pass'd.
  • It is silliness to live when to live is torment; and then have we a prescription to die when death is our physician.
  • The Lives We try to make never seem to get Us anywhere but Dead.
    • Soundgarden in "The Day I Tried To Live" (1994).
  • "Life is not lost," said she, "for which is bought
    Endlesse renowne."
    • Edmund Spenser, The Faerie Queene (1589-96), Book III, Canto XI, Stanza 19.
  • Away with funeral music—set
    The pipe to powerful lips—
    The cup of life's for him that drinks
    And not for him that sips.
  • All who have meant good work with their whole hearts, have done good work, although they may die before they have the time to sign it. Every heart that has beat strong and cheerfully has left a hopeful impulse behind it in the world, and bettered the tradition of mankind. And even if death catch people, like an open pitfall, and in mid-career, laying out vast projects, and planning monstrous foundations, flushed with hope, and their mouths full of boastful language, they should be at once tripped up and silenced: is there not something brave and spirited in such a termination? and does not life go down with a better grace, foaming in full body over a precipice, than miserably straggling to an end in sandy deltas?
  • To be what we are, and to become what we are capable of becoming, is the only end of life.
  • Life is not as idle ore,
    But iron dug from central gloom,
    And heated hot with burning fears,
    And dipt in baths of hissing tears,
    And batter'd with the shocks of doom,
    To shape and use.
  • Living should be perpetual and universal benediction.
    • Wei Wu Wei in Why Lazarus Laughed: The Essential Doctrine, Zen — Advaita — Tantra (2003)
  • Life is an urge of the Universe to understand itself.
    • N S Dhami, "A Phrase Steps Out of the Past".
  • Lo! on a narrow neck of land,
    'Twixt two unbounded seas, I stand.
    Secure, insensible.
  • I desire to have both heaven and hell ever in my eye, while I stand on this isthmus of life, between two boundless oceans.
  • For what are men who grasp at praise sublime,
    But bubbles on the rapid stream of time,
    That rise, and fall, that swell, and are no more,
    Born, and forgot, ten thousand in an hour?
    • Edward Young, Love of Fame (1725-1728), Satire II, line 285.
  • While man is growing, life is in decrease,
    And cradles rock us nearer to the tomb:
    Our birth is nothing but our death begun.
    • Edward Young, Night Thoughts (1742-1745), Night V, line 718.
  • That life is long, which answers life's great end.
    • Edward Young, Night Thoughts (1742-1745), Night V, line 773.
  • Still seems it strange, that thou shouldst live forever?
    Is it less strange, that thou shouldst live at all?
    This is a miracle; and that no more.
    • Edward Young, Night Thoughts (1742-1745), Night VII, line 1,396.

Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical QuotationsEdit

Quotes reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 440-55.
  • I expect to pass through this world but once. Any good therefore that I can do, or any kindness that I can show to any fellow creature, let me do it now. Let me not defer or neglect it, for I shall not pass this way again.
    • Author unknown. General proof lies with Stephen Grellet as author. Not found in his writings. Same idea found in The Spectator. (Addison). No. I, Volume I. March 1. 1710. Canon Jepson positively claimed it for Emerson. Attributed to Edward Courtenay, due to the resemblance of the Earl's epitaph. See Literary World, March 15, 1905. Also to Carlyle, Miss A. B. Hageman, Rowland Hill, Marcus Aurelius.
  • If you will do some deed before you die,
    Remember not this caravan of death,
    But have belief that every little breath
    Will stay with you for an eternity.
  • Spesso è da forte,
    Più che il morire, il vivere.
    Ofttimes the test of courage becomes rather to live than to die.
  • I know not if the dark or bright
    Shall be my lot;
    If that wherein my hopes delight
    Be best or not.
  • And by a prudent flight and cunning save
    A life which valour could not, from the grave.
    A better buckler I can soon regain,
    But who can get another life again?
  • There is a cropping-time in the races of men, as in the fruits of the field; and sometimes, if the stock be good, there springs up for a time a succession of splendid men; and then comes a period of barrenness.
    • Aristotle, Rhetoric, II. 15. Par, III. Quoted by Bishop Fraser in a sermon (Feb. 9, 1879).
  • We are the voices of the wandering wind,
    Which moan for rest and rest can never find;
    Lo! as the wind is so is mortal life,
    A moan, a sigh, a sob, a storm, a strife.
  • Life, which all creatures love and strive to keep
    Wonderful, dear and pleasant unto each,
    Even to the meanest; yea, a boon to all
    Where pity is, for pity makes the world
    Soft to the weak and noble for the strong.
  • With aching hands and bleeding feet
    We dig and heap, lay stone on stone;
    We bear the burden and the heat
    Of the long day, and wish 'twere done.
    Not till the hours of light return
    All we have built do we discern.
  • Saw life steadily and saw it whole.
  • This strange disease of modern life,
    With its sick hurry, its divided aims.
  • They live that they may eat, but he himself [Socrates] eats that he may live.
    • Athenæus, IV. 15. See Aulus Gellius, XVIII. 2. 8.
  • As a mortal, thou must nourish each of two forebodings—that tomorrow's sunlight will be the last that thou shalt see; and that for fifty years thou wilt live out thy life in ample wealth.
  • I would live to study, and not study to live.
    • Francis Bacon, Memorial of Access. From a Letter to King James I. See Birch's ed. of Bacon, Letters, Speeches, etc, p. 321. (Ed. 1763).
  • The World's a bubble, and the Life of Man less than a span:
    In his conception wretched, from the womb so to the tomb;
    Curst from his cradle, and brought up to years with cares and fears.
    Who then to frail mortality shall trust,
    But limns the water, or but writes in dust.
    • Francis Bacon, Life. Preface to the Translation of Certain Psalms.
  • I live for those who love me,
    For those who know me true;
    For the heaven so blue above me,
    And the good that I can do.
  • Life is a long lesson in humility.
  • Loin des sépultures célebres
    Vers un cimitière isolé
    Mon cœur, comme un tambour voilé
    Va battant des marches funèbres.
    To the solemn graves, near a lonely cemetery, my heart like a muffled drum is beating funeral marches.
  • Our lives are but our marches to the grave.
  • We sleep, but the loom of life never stops and the pattern which was weaving when the sun went down is weaving when it comes up to-morrow.
  • The day is short, the work is much.
    • Saying of Ben Syra. (From the Hebrew).
  • We are all but Fellow-Travelers,
    Along Life's weary way;
    If any man can play the pipes,
    In God's name, let him play.
  • Life does not proceed by the association and addition of elements, but by dissociation and division.
  • For life is tendency, and the essence of a tendency is to develop in the form of a sheaf, creating, by its very growth, divergent directions among which its impetus is divided.
  • Nasci miserum, vivere pœna, angustia mori.
    It is a misery to be born, a pain to live, a trouble to die.
  • Alas, how scant the sheaves for all the trouble,
    The toil, the pain and the resolve sublime—
    A few full ears; the rest but weeds and stubble,
    And withered wild-flowers plucked before their time.
  • For life is the mirror of king and slave,
    'Tis just what we are and do;
    Then give to the world the best you have,
    And the best will come back to you.
  • There are loyal hearts, there are spirits brave,
    There are souls that are pure and true;
    Then give to the world the best you have,
    And the best will come back to you.
  • Life, believe, is not a dream,
    So dark as sages say;
    Oft a little morning rain
    Foretells a pleasant day!
  • A little sun, a little rain,
    A soft wind blowing from the west,
    And woods and fields are sweet again,
    And warmth within the mountain's breast

    A little love, a little trust,
    A soft impulse, a sudden dream,
    And life as dry as desert dust,
    Is fresher than a mountain stream.
  • I would not live over my hours past … not unto Cicero's ground because I have lived them well, but for fear I should live them worse.
  • Life is a pure flame, and we live by an invisible sun within us.
  • The long habit of living indisposeth us for dying.
  • Whose life is a bubble, and in length a span.
  • I know—is all the mourner saith,
    Knowledge by suffering entereth;
    And Life is perfected by Death.
  • Have you found your life distasteful?
    My life did, and does, smack sweet.
    Was your youth of pleasure wasteful?
    Mine I saved and hold complete.
    Do your joys with age diminish?
    When mine fail me, I'll complain.
    Must in death your daylight finish?
    My sun sets to rise again.
  • I count life just a stuff
    To try the soul's strength on.
  • No! let me taste the whole of it, fare like my peers,
    The heroes of old,
    Bear the brunt, in a minute pay glad life's arrears
    Of pain, darkness and cold.
  • O Life! thou art a galling load,
    Along a rough, a weary road,
    To wretches such as I!
  • O, Life! how pleasant is thy morning,
    Young Fancy's rays the hills adorning!
    Cold pausing Caution's lesson scorning,
    We frisk away,
    Like schoolboys, at the expected warning,
    To joy and play.
  • Life is but a day at most.
  • Did man compute
    Existence by enjoyment, and count o'er
    Such hours 'gainst years of life, say, would he name threescore?
  • Through life's road, so dim and dirty,
    I have dragged to three and thirty;
    What have these years left to me?
    Nothing, except thirty-three.
    • Lord Byron, Diary. Jan. 22, 1821. In Moore's Life of Byron, Volume II, p. 414. First Ed.
  • Our life is two-fold; sleep hath its own world,
    A boundary between the things misnamed
    Death and existence.
  • The dust we tread upon was once alive.
    • Lord Byron, Sardanapalus, Act IV, scene 1, line 66.
  • Life is with such all beer and skittles.
    They are not difficult to please
    About their victuals.
  • Heaven gives our years of fading strength
    Indemnifying fleetness;
    And those of Youth a seeming length,
    Proportioned to their sweetness.
  • A well-written life is almost as rare as a well-spent one.
  • There is no life of a man, faithfully recorded, but is a heroic poem of its sort, rhymed or unrhymed.
  • One life;—a little gleam of Time between two Eternities.
    • Thomas Carlyle, Heroes and Hero Worship (1840), The Hero as a Man of Letters.
  • How many lives we live in one,
    And how much less than one, in all.
  • On entre, on crie,
    Et c'est la vie!
    On bâille, on sort,
    Et c'est la mort!
    We come and we cry, and that is life; we yawn and we depart, and that is death!
  • However, while I crawl upon this planet I think myself obliged to do what good I can in my narrow domestic sphere, to all my fellow-creatures, and to wish them all the good I cannot do.
  • Brevis a natura nobis vita data est; at memoria bene reditæ vitæ sempiterna.
    The life given us by nature is short; but the memory of a well-spent life is eternal.
    • Cicero, Philippicæ, XIV. 12.
  • Natura dedit usuram vitæ tanquam pecuniæ nulla præstitua die.
    Nature has lent us life at interest, like money, and has fixed no day for its payment.
    • Cicero, Tusculanarum Disputationum, I. 39.
  • Nemo parum diu vixit, qui virtuis perfectæ perfecto functus est munere.
    No one has lived a short life who has performed its duties with unblemished character.
    • Cicero, Tusculanarum Disputationum, I. 45.
  • To know, to esteem, to love,—and then to part,
    Makes up life's tale to many a feeling heart.
  • This life's a hollow bubble,
         Don't you know?
    Just a painted piece of trouble,
         Don't you know?
    We come to earth to cry,
    We grow older and we sigh,
    Older still, and then we die!
         Don't you know?
  • Life for delays and doubts no time does give,
    None ever yet made haste enough to live.
  • His faith, perhaps, in some nice tenets might
    Be wrong; his life, I'm sure, was in the right.
  • Men deal with life as children with their play,
    Who first misuse, then cast their toys away.
  • Let's learn to live, for we must die alone.
  • Shall he who soars, inspired by loftier views,
    Life's little cares and little pains refuse?
    Shall he not rather feel a double share
    Of mortal woe, when doubly arm'd to bear?
  • Life's bloomy flush was lost.
  • Life is not measured by the time we live.
  • Non ò necessario
    Vivere, si scolpire olte quel termine
    Nostro nome: quæsto è necessario.
    It is not necessary to live,
    But to carve our names beyond that point,
    This is necessary.
  • Nel mezzo del cammin di nostra vita
    Mi ritrovai per una selva oscura,
    Che la diritta via era smarrita.
    In the midway of this our mortal life,
    I found me in a gloomy wood, astray,
    Gone from the path direct.
  • Questo misero modo
    Tengon l'anime triste di coloro
    Che visser senza infamia e senza lodo.
    This sorrow weighs upon the melancholy souls of those who lived without infamy or praise.
  • … There are two distinct classes of people in the world; those that feel that they themselves are in a body; and those that feel that they themselves are a body, with something working it. I feel like the contents of a bottle, and am curious to know what will happen when the bottle is uncorked. Perhaps I shall be mousseux—who knows? Now I know that many people feel like a strong moving engine, self-stoking, and often so anxious to keep the fire going that they put too much fuel on, and it has to be raked out and have the bars cleared.
  • Learn to live well, that thou may'st die so too;
    To live and die is all we have to do.
  • Cette longue et cruelle maladie qu'on appele la vie.
    That long and cruel malady which one calls life.
    • Deschamps.
  • Mr. Wopsle's great-aunt conquered a confirmed habit of living into which she had fallen.
  • My life is one demd horrid grind.
  • "Live, while you live," the epicure would say,
    "And seize the pleasures of the present day;"
    "Live, while you live," the sacred preacher cries,
    "And give to God each moment as it flies."
    "Lord, in my views let both united be;
    I live in pleasure, when I live to Thee."
    • Philip Doddridge, "Dum vivimus vivamus." Lines written under Motto of his Family Arms.
  • 'Tis not for nothing that we life pursue;
    It pays our hopes with something still that's new.
  • When I consider life, 'tis all a cheat;
    Yet, fooled with hope, men favour the deceit.
  • Like pilgrims to th' appointed place we tend;
    The World's an Inn, and Death the journey's end.
  • Take not away the life you cannot give:
    For all things have an equal right to live.
  • The wheels of weary life at last stood still.
    • Dryden and Lee, Œdipus, Act IV, scene 1.
  • A little rule, a little sway,
    A sunbeam in a winter's day,
    Is all the proud and mighty have
    Between the cradle and the grave.
  • A man's ingress into the world is naked and bare,
    His progress through the world is trouble and care;
    And lastly, his egress out of the world, is nobody knows where.
    If we do well here, we shall do well there;
    I can tell you no more if I preach a whole year.
    • John Edwin, The Eccentricities of John Edwin (second edition), Volume I, p. 74. Quoted in Longefellow's Tales of a Wayside Inn, Part II. Student's Tale.
  • Life is short, and time is swift;
    Roses fade, and shadows shift.
  • Life's like an inn where travelers stay,
    Some only breakfast and away;
    Others to dinner stop, and are full fed;
    The oldest only sup and go to bed.
    • Epitaph on tomb in Silkstone, England, to the memory of John Ellis. (1766).
  • Life's an Inn, my house will shew it;—
    I thought so once, but now I know it.
    • Epitaphs printed by Mr. Fairley. Epitaphiana. (Ed. 1875). On an Innkeeper at Eton. The lines that follow are like those of Quarles.
  • This world's a city full of crooked streets,
    Death's the market-place where all men meet;
    If life were merchandise that men should buy,
    The rich would always live, the poor might die.
    • Epitaph to John Gadsden, died 1739, in Stoke Goldington, England. See E. R. Suffling, Epitaphia, p. 401. On P. 405 is a Scotch version of 1689. Same idea in Gay. The Messenger of Mortality, in Ancient Poems, Ballads, and Songs of the Peasantry. A suggestion from Chaucer's Knight's Tale, line 2,487. Shakespeare and Fletcher. Two Noble Kinsmen, Act I, scene 5, line 15. Waller, Divine Poems.
  • Nulli desperandum, quam diu spirat.
    No one is to be despaired of as long as he breathes. (While there is life there is hope).
  • For like a child, sent with a fluttering light
    To feel his way along a gusty night,
    Man walks the world. Again, and yet again,
    The lamp shall be by fits of passion slain;
    But shall not He who sent him from the door
    Relight the lamp once more, and yet once more?
    • Edward FitzGerald, translation of Attar's Mantik-ut-Tair (Bird Parliament). In Letters and Literary Remains of FitzGerald, Volume II, p. 457.
  • The King in a carriage may ride,
    And the Beggar may crawl at his side;
    But in the general race,
    They are traveling all the same pace.
  • Were the offer made true, I would engage to run again, from beginning to end, the same career of life. All I would ask should be the privilege of an author, to correct, in a second edition, certain errors of the first.
  • Dost thou love Life? Then do not squander time, for that is the stuff life is made of.
  • We live merely on the crust or rind of things.
  • The old Quaker was right: "I expect to pass through life but once. If there is any kindness, or any good thing I can do to my fellow beings, let me do it now. I shall pass this way but once."
  • How short is life! how frail is human trust!
  • Lebe, wie Du, wenn du stirbst,
    Wünschen wirst, gelebt zu haben.
    Live in such a way as, when you come to die, you will wish to have lived.
  • We are in this life as it were in another man's house…. In heaven is our home, in the world is our Inn: do not so entertain thyself in the Inn of this world for a day as to have thy mind withdrawn from longing after thy heavenly home.
    • Gerhard, Meditations, XXXVIII (c. 1630).
  • Die uns das Leben gaben, herrliche Gefühle,
    Erstarren in dem irdischen Gewühle.
    The fine emotions whence our lives we mold
    Lie in the earthly tumult dumb and cold.
  • Grau, theurer Freund, ist alle Theorie
    Und grün des Lebens goldner Baum.
    My worthy friend, gray are all theories
    And green alone Life's golden tree.
  • Ein unnütz Leben ist ein früher Tod.
    A useless life is an early death.
  • I would live the same life over if I had to live again,
    And the chances are I go where most men go.
  • Life is mostly froth and bubble;
    Two things stand like stone:
    Kindness in another's trouble
    Courage in our own.
  • Along the cool sequestered vale of life,
    They kept the noiseless tenour of their way.
    • Thomas Gray, Elegy in a Country Churchyard, Stanza 19.
  • Qui n'a pas vécu dans les années voisines de 1789 ne sait pas ce que c'est le palisir de vivre.
  • Life's little ironies.
  • [George Herbert] a conspicuous example of plain living and high thinking.
    • Haweis, Sermon on George Herbert, in Evenings for the People.
  • Who but knows
    How it goes!
    Life's a last year's Nightingale,
    Love's a last year's rose.
  • Life is a smoke that curls—
    Curls in a flickering skein,
    That winds and whisks and whirls,
    A figment thin and vain,
    Into the vast inane.
    One end for hut and hall.
  • I made a posy, while the day ran by:
    Here will I smell my remnant out, and tie
    My life within this band.
    But time did beckon to the flowers, and they
    By noon most cunningly did steal away,
    And wither'd in my hand.
  • Life is not to be bought with heaps of gold;
    Not all Apollo's Pythian treasures hold,
    Or Troy once held, in peace and pride of sway,
    Can bribe the poor possession of the day.
    • Homer, The Iliad, Book IX, line 524. Pope's translation.
  • For Fate has wove the thread of life with pain,
    And twins ev'n from the birth are Misery and Man!
    • Homer, The Odyssey, Book VII, line 263. Pope's translation.
  • Vitæ summa brevis spem nos vetat inchoare longam.
    Jam te premet nox, fabulæque Manes,
    Et domus exilis Plutonia.
    The short span of life forbids us to spin out hope to any length. Soon will night be upon you, and the fabled Shades, and the shadowy Plutonian home.
  • Ille potens sui
    Lætusque deget, cui licet in diem
    Dixisse Vixi; cras vel atra
    Nube polum pater occupato,
    Vel sole puro, non tamen irritum
    Quodcunque retro est efficiet.
    That man lives happy and in command of himself, who from day to day can say I have lived. Whether clouds obscure, or the sun illumines the following day, that which is past is beyond recall.
    • Horace, Carmina, III. 29. 41.
  • Vivendi recte qui prorogat horam
    Rusticus expectat dum defluat amnis; at ille
    Labitur et labetur in omne volubilis ævum.
    He who postpones the hour of living as he ought, is like the rustic who waits for the river to pass along (before he crosses); but it glides on and will glide on forever.
  • Nec vixit male qui natus moriensque fefellit.
    Nor has he spent his life badly who has passed it in privacy.
    • Horace, Epistles, I. 17. 10.
  • Exacto contentus tempore vita cedat uti conviva satur.
    Content with his past life, let him take leave of life like a satiated guest.
  • Life isn't all beer and skittles; but beer and skittles or something better of the same sort, must form a good part of every Englishman's education.
  • The chess-board is the world, the pieces are the phenomena of the universe, the rules of the game are what we call the laws of Nature. The player on the other side is hidden from us.
    • Huxley, Liberal Education. In Science and Education.
  • There is but halting for the wearied foot;
    The better way is hidden. Faith hath failed;
    One stronger far than reason mastered her.
    It is not reason makes faith hard, but life.
    • Jean Ingelow, A Pastor's Letter to a Young Poet, Part II, line 231.
  • Study as if you were to live forever. Live as if you were to die tomorrow.
  • A fair, where thousands meet, but none can stay;
    An inn, where travellers bait, then post away.
    • Soame Jenkyns, Immortality of the Soul. Translated from the Latin of Isaac Hawkins Browne.
  • All that a man hath will he give for his life.
    • Job, II. 4.
  • I would not live alway.
    • Job, VII. 16.
  • The land of the living.
    • Job, XXVIII. 13.
  • Learn that the present hour alone is man's.
  • Reflect that life, like every other blessing,
    Derives its value from its use alone.
  • The drama's laws the drama's patrons give.
    For we that live to please must please to live.
  • "Enlarge my life with multitude of days!"
    In health, in sickness, thus the suppliant prays:
    Hides from himself its state, and shuns to know,
    That life protracted is protracted woe.
  • In life's last scene what prodigies surprise,
    Fears of the brave, and follies of the wise!
    From Marlborough's eyes the streams of dotage flow,
    And Swift expires a driveller and a show.
  • Catch, then, oh! catch the transient hour,
    Improve each moment as it flies;
    Life's a short summer—man a flower;
    He dies—alas! how soon he dies!
  • Our whole life is like a play.
  • Festimat enim decurrere velox
    Flosculus angustæ miseræque brevissima vitæ
    Portio; dum bibimus dum serta unguenta puellas
    Poscimus obrepit non intellecta senectus.
    The short bloom of our brief and narrow life flies fast away. While we are calling for flowers and wine and women, old age is upon us.
  • A sacred burden is this life ye bear,
    Look on it, lift it, bear it solemnly,
    Stand up and walk beneath it steadfastly;
    Fail not for sorrow, falter not for sin,
    But onward, upward, till the goal ye win.
    • Fanny Kemble, Lines to the Young Gentlemen leaving the Lennox Academy, Mass.
  • I have fought my fight, I have lived my life,
    I have drunk my share of wine;
    From Trier to Coln there was never a knight
    Led a merrier life than mine.
    • Charles Kingsley, The Knight's Leap. Similar lines appear under the picture of Franz Hals, The Laughing Cavalier.
  • La plupart des hommes emploient la première partie de leur vie à rendre l'autre misérable.
    Most men employ the first part of life to make the other part miserable.
  • Life will be lengthened while growing, for
    Thought is the measure of life.
  • Love is sunshine, hate is shadow,
    Life is checkered shade and sunshine.
  • Art is long, and Time is fleeting,
    And our hearts, though stout and brave,
    Still, like muffled drums, are beating
    Funeral marches to the grave.
  • Thus at the flaming forge of life
    Our fortunes must be wrought;
    Thus on its sounding anvil shaped
    Each burning deed and thought!
  • Truly there is a tide in the affairs of men; but there is no gulf-stream setting forever in one direction.
  • Our life must once have end; in vain we fly
    From following Fate; e'en now, e'en now, we die.
    • Lucretius, De Rerum Natura, 3, 1093. (Creech tr)..
  • Vita dum superest, bene est.
    Whilst life remains it is well.
  • An ardent throng, we have wandered long,
    We have searched the centuries through,
    In flaming pride, we have fought and died,
    To keep its memory true.
    We fight and die, but our hopes beat high,
    In spite of the toil and tears,
    For we catch the gleam of our vanished dream
    Down the path of the Untrod Years.
  • Victuros agimus semper, nec vivimus unquam.
    We are always beginning to live, but are never living.
  • Non est, crede mihi sapientis dicere "vivam."
    Sera nimis vita est crastina, vive hodie.
    It is not, believe me, the act of a wise man to say, "I will live." To-morrow's life is too late; live to-day.
    • Martial, Epigrams (c. 80-104 AD), I. 16. 11.
  • Cras vives; hodie jam vivere, Postume, serum est.
    Ille sapit, quisquis, Postume, vixit heri.
    To-morrow I will live, the fool does say;
    To-day itself's too late, the wise lived yesterday.
    • Martial, Epigrams (c. 80-104 AD), V. 58. Cowley's translation. Danger of Procrastination. Quoted by Voltaire in Letter to Thieriot.
  • He who thinks that the lives of Priam and of Nestor were long is much deceived and mistaken. Life consists not in living, but in enjoying health.
    • Martial, Epigrams (c. 80-104 AD), Book VI.
  • Ampliat ætatis spatium sibi vir bonus: hoc est vivere bis, vita posse priore frui.
    A good man doubles the length of his existence; to have lived so as to look back with pleasure on our past existence is to live twice.
    • Martial, Epigrams (c. 80-104 AD), X. 23. 7.
  • On the long dusty ribbon of the long city street,
    The pageant of life is passing me on multitudinous feet,
    With a word here of the hills, and a song there of the sea
    And—the great movement changes—the pageant passes me.
  • While we least think it he prepares his Mate.
    Mate, and the King's pawn played, it never ceases,
    Though all the earth is dust of taken pieces.
  • Man cannot call the brimming instant back;
    Time's an affair of instants spun to days;
    If man must make an instant gold, or black,
    Let him, he may; but Time must go his ways.
    Life may be duller for an instant's blaze.
    Life's an affair of instants spun to years,
    Instants are only cause of all these tears.
  • Wide is the gate and broad is the way that leadeth to destruction.
    • Matthew, VII. 13.
  • Strait is the gate and narrow is the way which leadeth unto life.
    • Matthew, VII. 14.
  • Life is a mission. Every other definition of life is false, and leads all who accept it astray. Religion, science, philosophy, though still at variance upon many points, all agree in this, that every existence is an aim.
    • Mazzini, Life and Writings, Chapter V.
  • Il torre altrui la vita
    È facoltà commune
    Al più vil della terra; il darla è solo
    De' Numi, e de' Regnanti.
    To take away life is a power which the vilest of the earth have in common; to give it belongs to gods and kings alone.
  • A man's best things are nearest him,
    Lie close about his feet.
  • Were I to live my life over again, I should live it just as I have done. I neither complain of the past, nor do I fear the future.
  • La vie est vaine:
    Un peu d'amour,
    Un peu de haine—
    Et puis-bonjour!

    La vie est brève:
    Un peu d'espoir,
    Un peu de rêve—
    Et puis—bon soir!
    Life is but jest:
    A dream, a doom;
    A gleam, a gloom—
    And then—good rest!

    Life is but play;
    A throb, a tear:
    A sob, a sneer;
    And then—good day.
    • Leon de Montenaeken, Peu de Chose et Presque Trop. (Nought and too Much). English translation. by Author. Quoted by Du Maurier in Trilby.
  • 'Tis not the whole of life to live;
    Nor all of death to die.
  • Vain were the man, and false as vain,
    Who said, were he ordained to run
    His long career of life again
    He would do all that he had done.
    • Thomas Moore, My Birthday. In a footnote Moore refers to Fontenelie, "Si je recommençais ma carrière, je ferai tout ce que j'ai fait."
  • The longer one lives the more he learns.
  • Life is a waste of wearisome hours,
    Which seldom the rose of enjoyment adorns,
    And the heart that is soonest awake to the flowers,
    Is always the first to be touch'd by the thorns.
    • Thomas Moore, Oh! Think not My Spirits are always as Light.
  • Nor on one string are all life's jewels strung.
  • I would not live alway; I ask not to stay
    Where storm after storm rises dark o'er the way.
  • Our days begin with trouble here, our life is but a span,
    And cruel death is always near, so frail a thing is man.
    • New England Primer (1777).
  • Wile some no other cause for life can give
    But a dull habitude to live.
  • My life is like the summer rose
    That opens to the morning sky,
    But ere the shade of evening close
    Is scatter'd on the ground to die.
    • Claimed by Patrick O'Kelly. The Simile. Pub. 1824. Authorship doubted. The lines appeared in a Philadelphia paper about 1815–16, attributed to Richard Henry Wilde.
  • Id quoque, quod vivam, munus habere dei.
    This also, that I live, I consider a gift of God.
    • Ovid, Tristium, I. 1. 20.
  • This life a theatre we well may call,
    Where very actor must perform with art,
    Or laugh it through, and make a farce of all,
    Or learn to bear with grace his tragic part.
    • Palladas. Epitaph in Palatine Anthology. X. 72. As translated by Robert Bland. (From the Greek). Part of this Sir Thomas Shadwell wished to have inscribed on the monument in Westminster Abbey to his father, Thomas Shadwell.
  • There is only one pleasure—that of being alive. All the rest is misery.
  • Condition de l'homme, inconstance, ennui, inquietude.
    The state of man is inconstancy, ennui, anxiety.
  • On s'eveille, on se léve, on s'habille, et l'on sort;
    On rentre, on dine, on soupe, on se couche, et l'on dort.
    One awakens, one rises, one dresses, and one goes forth;
    One returns, one dines, one sups, one retires and one sleeps.
  • Natura, vero nihil hominibus brevitate vitæ præstitit melius.
    Nature has given man no better thing than shortness of life.
  • She went from opera, park, assembly, play,
    To morning walks, and prayers three hours a day.
    To part her time 'twixt reading and bohea,
    To muse, and spill her solitary tea,
    Or o'er cold coffee trifle with the spoon,
    Count the slow clock, and dine exact at noon.
  • Learn to live well, or fairly make your will;
    You've play'd, and lov'd, and ate, and drank your fill:
    Walk sober off, before a sprightlier age
    Comes titt'ring on, and shoves you from the stage.
  • Through the sequester'd vale of rural life
    The venerable patriarch guileless held
    The tenor of his way.
  • Amid two seas, on one small point of land,
    Wearied, uncertain, and amazed we stand.
    • Matthew Prior, Solomon on the Vanity of Human Wishes, Part III, line 616.
  • Who breathes must suffer; and who thinks, must mourn;
    And he alone is bless'd who ne'er was born.
    • Matthew Prior, Solomon on the Vanity of the World, Book III, line 240.
  • So vanishes our state; so pass our days;
    So life but opens now, and now decays;
    The cradle and the tomb, alas! so nigh,
    To live is scarce distinguish'd from to die.
    • Matthew Prior, Solomon on the Vanity of the World, Book III, line 527.
  • Half my life is full of sorrow,
    Half of joy, still fresh and new;
    One of these lives is a fancy,
    But the other one is true.
  • Lord, make me to know mine end, and the measure of my days, what it is; that I may know how frail I am.
    • Psalms, XXXIX. 4.
  • As for man his days are as grass; as a flower of the field so he flourisheth.
    • Psalms. CIII. 15.
  • The wind passeth over it, and it is gone; and the place thereof shall know it no more.
    • Psalms. CIII. 16.
  • Man's life is like a Winter's day:
    Some only breakfast and away;
    Others to dinner stay and are full fed,
    The oldest man but sups and goes to bed.
    Long is his life who lingers out the day,
    Who goes the soonest has the least to pay;
    Death is the Waiter, some few run on tick,
    And some alas! must pay the bill to Nick!
    Tho' I owed much, I hope long trust is given,
    And truly mean to pay all bills in Heaven.
    • Epitaph in Barnwell Churchyard, near Cambridge, England.
  • The romance of life begins and ends with two blank pages. Age and extreme old age.
  • Der Mensch hat hier dritthalb Minuten, eine zu lächeln—eine zu seufzen—und eine halbe zu lieben: denn mitten in dieser Minute stirbt er.
    Man has here two and a half minutes—one to smile, one to sigh, and a half to love: for in the midst of this minute he dies.
  • Jeder Mensch hat eine Regen-Ecke seines Lebens aus der ihm das schlimme Wetter nachzieht.
    Every man has a rainy corner of his life out of which foul weather proceeds and follows after him.
  • Die Parzen und Furien ziehen auch mit verbundnen Händen um das Leben, wie die Grazien und die Sirenen.
    The Fates and Furies, as well as the Graces and Sirens, glide with linked hands over life.
  • Nur Thaten geben dem Leben Stärke, nur Maas ihm Reiz.
    Only deeds give strength to life, only moderation gives it charm.
  • I bargained with Life for a penny,
    And Life would pay no more,
    However I begged at evening
    When I counted my scanty store.
  • I worked for a menial's hire,
    Only to learn, dismayed,
    That any wage I had asked of Life,
    Life would have paid.
  • In speaking to you men of the greatest city of the West, men of the state which gave to the country Lincoln and Grant, men who preeminently and distinctly embody all that is most American in the American character, I wish to preach not the doctrine of ignoble ease, but the doctrine of the strenuous life.
    • Theodore Roosevelt, at the Appomattox Day celebration of the Hamilton Club of Chicago (April 10, 1899).
  • This life is but the passage of a day,
    This life is but a pang and all is over;
    But in the life to come which fades not away
    Every love shall abide and every lover.
  • Life's but a span, or a tale, or a word,
    That in a trice, or suddaine, is rehearsèd.
    • The Roxburghe Ballads, A Friend's Advice, Part II. Edited by William Chappell.
  • Vita ipsa qua fruimur brevis est.
    The very life which we enjoy is short.
  • Ignavia nemo immortalis factus: neque quisquam parens liberis, uti æterni forent, optavit; magis, uti boni honestique vitam exigerent.
    No one has become immortal by sloth; nor has any parent prayed that his children should live forever; but rather that they should lead an honorable and upright life.
  • Say, what is life? 'Tis to be born,
    A helpless Babe, to greet the light
    With a sharp wail, as if the morn
    Foretold a cloudy noon and night;
    To weep, to sleep, and weep again,
    With sunny smiles between; and then?
  • Wir, wir leben! Unser sind die Stunden
    Und der Lebende hat Recht.
    We, we live! ours are the hours, and the living have their claims.
  • Nicht der Tummelplatz des Lebens—sein Gehalt bestimmt seinen Werth.
    'Tis not the mere stage of life but the part we play thereon that gives the value.
  • Nicht seine Freudenseite kehrte dir
    Das Leben zu.
    Life did not present its sunny side to thee.
  • Wouldst thou wisely, and with pleasure,
    Pass the days of life's short measure,
    From the slow one counsel take,
    But a tool of him ne'er make;
    Ne'er as friend the swift one know,
    Nor the constant one as foe.
  • Des Lebens Mai blüht einmal und nicht wieder.
    The May of life blooms once and never again.
  • O'er Ocean, with a thousand masts, sails forth the stripling bold—
    One boat, hard rescued from the deep, draws into port the old!
  • I've lived and loved.
    • Friedrich Schiller, Wallenstein, Part I. Piccolomini. Song in Act II, scene 6. Coleridge's translation.
  • Das Spiel des Lebens sieht sich heiter an,
    Wenn man den sichern Schatz im Herzen trägt.
    The game of life looks cheerful when one carries a treasure safe in his heart.
  • Sein Spruch war: leben und leben lassen.
    His saying was: live and let live.
  • From a boy
    I gloated on existence. Earth to me
    Seemed all-sufficient and my sojourn there
    One trembling opportunity for joy.
  • Tota vita nihil aliud quam ad mortem iter est.
    The whole of life is nothing but a journey to death.
    • Seneca, Consol. ad Polybium, 29.
  • Vita, si scias uti, longa est.
    Life, if thou knowest how to use it, is long enough.
    • Seneca, De Brevitate Vitæ, II.
  • Exigua pars est vitæ quam nos vivimus.
    The part of life which we really live is short.
    • Seneca, De Brevitate Vitæ, II.
  • Si ad naturam vivas, nunquam eris pauper; si ad opinionem, numquam dives.
    If you live according to nature, you never will be poor; if according to the world's caprice, you will never be rich.
    • Seneca, Epistolæ Ad Lucilium, XVI.
  • Molestum est, semper vitam inchoare; male vivunt qui semper vivere incipiunt.
    It is a tedious thing to be always beginning life; they live badly who always begin to live.
    • Seneca, Epistolæ Ad Lucilium, XXIII.
  • Ante senectutem curavi ut bene viverem, in senectute (curo) ut bene moriar; bene autem mori est libenter mori.
    Before old age I took care to live well; in old age I take care to die well; but to die well is to die willingly.
    • Seneca, Epistolæ Ad Lucilium, LXI.
  • Non vivere bonum est, sed bene vivere.
    To live is not a blessing, but to live well.
    • Seneca, Epistolæ Ad Lucilium, LXX.
  • Atqui vivere, militare est.
    But life is a warfare.
    • Seneca, Epistolæ Ad Lucilium, XCVI.
  • Propra vivere et singulos dies singulas vitas puta.
    Make haste to live, and consider each day a life.
    • Seneca, Epistolæ Ad Lucilium, CI.
  • Non domus hoc corpus sed hospitium et quidem breve.
    This body is not a home, but an inn; and that only for a short time.
    • Seneca, Epistolæ Ad Lucilium, CXX.
  • Quomodo fabula, sic vita: non quam diu, sed quam bene acta sit, refert.
    As is a tale, so is life: not how long it is, but how good it is, is what matters.
  • Prima quæ vitam dedit hora, carpit.
    The hour which gives us life begins to take it away.
    • Seneca, Hercules Furens, VIII. 74.
  • Life was driving at brains—at its darling object: an organ by which it can attain not only self-consciousness but self-understanding.
  • We have two lives;
    The soul of man is like the rolling world,
    One half in day, the other dipt in night;
    The one has music and the flying cloud,
    The other, silence and the wakeful stars.
  • Yes, this is life; and everywhere we meet,
    Not victor crowns, but wailings of defeat.
  • To be honest, to be kind—to earn a little and to spend a little less, to make upon the whole a family happier for his presence, to renounce when that shall be necessary and not be embittered, to keep a few friends but these without capitulation—above all, on the same grim condition to keep friends with himself—here is a task for all that a man has of fortitude and delicacy.
  • Man is an organ of life, and God alone is life.
  • Gaudeamus igitur,
    Juvenes dum sumus
    Post jucundam juventutem.
    Post molestam senectutem.
    Nos habebit humus.
    • Let us live then, and be glad
      While young life's before us
      After youthful pastime had,
      After old age hard and sad,
      Earth will slumber over us.
    • Author Unknown. John Addington Symonds' Trans.
  • O vita, misero longa! felici brevis!
    O life! long to the wretched, short to the happy.
  • Let your life lightly dance on the edges of Time like dew on the tip of a leaf.
  • … The wise man warns me that life is but a dewdrop on the lotus leaf.
  • So his life has flowed
    From its mysterious urn a sacred stream,
    In whose calm depth the beautiful and pure
    Alone are mirrored; which, though shapes of ill
    May hover round its surface, glides in light,
    And takes no shadow from them.
  • For life lives only in success.
  • Our life is scarce the twinkle of a star
    In God's eternal day.
  • The white flower of a blameless life.
  • I cannot rest from travel: I will drink
    Life to the lees.
  • Life is like a game of tables, the chances are not in our power, but the playing is.
  • No particular motive for living, except the custom and habit of it.
  • My life is like a stroll upon the beach.
  • The tree of deepest root is found
    Least willing still to quit the ground;
    'Twas therefore said by ancient sages,
    That love of life increased with years
    So much, that in our latter stages,
    When pain grows sharp, and sickness rages,
    The greatest love of life appears.
  • We live not in our moments or our years:
    The present we fling from us like the rind
    Of some sweet future, which we after find
    Bitter to taste.
  • Life let us cherish, while yet the taper glows,
    And the fresh flow'ret pluck ere it close;
    Why are we fond of toil and care?
    Why choose the rankling thorn to wear?
  • Pour exécuter de grandes choses, il faut vivre comme si on ne devait jamais mourir.
    To execute great things, one should live as though one would never die.
  • Qu'est-ce qu'une grande vie? C'est un rêve de jeunesse réalisé dans l'âge mûr.
    What is a great life? It is the dreams of youth realised in old age.
    • Alfred de Vigny, quoted by Louis Ratisbonne in an article in the Journal des Débats, (Oct. 4, 1863).
  • Ma vie est un combat.
    My life is a struggle.
  • Life is a comedy.
    • Horace Walpole, letter to Sir Horace Mann, Dec. 31, 1769. In a letter to same, March 5, 1772. "This world is a comedy, not Life."
  • Life is a game of whist. From unseen sources
    The cards are shuffled, and the hands are dealt.
    Blind are our efforts to control the forces
    That, though unseen, are no less strongly felt.

    I do not like the way the cards are shuffled,
    But still I like the game and want to play;
    And through the long, long night will I, unruffled,
    Play what I get, until the break of day.
  • Since the bounty of Providence is new every day,
    As we journey through life let us live by the way.
  • Yet I know that I dwell in the midst of the roar of the Cosmic Wheel
    In the hot collision of Forces, and the clangor of boundless Strife,
    Mid the sound of the speed of worlds, the rushing worlds, and the peal the thunder of Life.
  • Our life contains a thousand springs,
    And dies if one be gone.
    Strange! that a harp of thousand strings
    Should keep in tune so long.
    • Isaac Watts, Hymns and Spiritual Songs, Book II. Hymn XIX.
  • Long and long has the grass been growing,
    Long and long has the rain been falling,
    Long has the globe been rolling round.
  • I swear the earth shall surely be complete to him or her who shall be complete,
    The earth remains jagged and broken only to him or her who remains jagged and broken.
  • Our lives are albums written through
    With good or ill, with false or true;
    And as the blessed angels turn
    The pages of our years,
    God grant they read the good with smiles,
    And blot the ill with tears!
  • The days grow shorter, the nights grow longer,
    The headstones thicken along the way;
    And life grows sadder, but love grows stronger
    For those who walk with us day by day.
  • Our lives are songs; God writes the words
    And we set them to music at pleasure;
    And the song grows glad, or sweet or sad,
    As we choose to fashion the measure.
    • Ella Wheeler Wilcox, Our Lives, Stanza 102. Claimed for Rev. Thomas Gibbons. Appears in his 18th Century Book. See Notes and Queries (April 1, 1905), p. 249.
  • Ah! somehow life is bigger after all
    Than any painted angel could we see
    The God that is within us!
  • The Book of Life begins with a man and a woman in a garden.
    It ends with Revelations.
  • We live by Admiration, Hope, and Love;
    And, even as these are well and wisely fixed,
    In dignity of being we ascend.
  • Plain living and high thinking are no more.
    • William Wordsworth, sonnet dedicated to National Independence and Liberty. No, XIII. Written in London (Sept. 1802).
  • A narrow isthmus betwixt time and eternity.

Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers (1895)Edit

Quotes reported in Josiah Hotchkiss Gilbert, Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers (1895).

  • Man's life is so interwoven with the grand life of his Maker that it admits of no adequate or rational interpretation except when the Creator as Supreme and the creatures of His hand as subordinate, are seen working in unison.
  • Life is great if properly viewed in any aspect; it is mainly great when viewed in connection with the world to come.
  • While we seek to fill up life in a way that will best secure the ends of our existence here, our whole plan and course of action should be such as will not hinder but serve our preparation for a future world.
  • Pray for and work for fullness of life above every thing; full red blood in the body; full honesty and truth in the mind; and the fullness of a grateful love for the Saviour in your heart.
  • There is no life so humble that, if it be true and genuinely human and obedient to God, it may not hope to shed some of His light. There is no life so meager that the greatest and wisest of us can afford to despise it. We cannot know at what moment it may flash forth with the life of God.
  • Life is rather a state of embryo, a preparation for life; a man is not completely born till he has passed through death.
  • And thus does life go on, until death accomplishes the catastrophe in silence, takes the worn frame within his hand, and, as if it were a dried-up scroll, crumbles it in his grasp to ashes. The monuments of kingdoms, too, shall disappear. Still the globe shall move; still the stars shall burn; still the sun shall paint its colors on the day, and its colors on the year. What, then, is the individual, or what even is the race in the sublime recurrings of Time? Years, centuries, cycles, are nothing to these. The sun that measures out the ages of our planet is not a second-hand on the great dial of the universe.
  • This is life's greatest moment, when the soul unfolds capacities which reach beyond earth's boundaries.
  • Life is short, art long, opportunity fleeting, experiment uncertain, and judgment difficult.
  • Life is before you,— not earthly life alone, but life— a thread running interminably through the warp of eternity.
  • Life as we call it, is nothing but the edge of the boundless ocean of existence when it comes upon soundings.
  • The highest life is a broken column; the fairest life, a tar nished gem; the richest life, an unripened fruit.
  • God help us! it is a foolish little thing, this human life, at the best; and it is half ridiculous and half pitiful to see what importance we ascribe to it, and to its little ornaments and distinctions.
  • Act as if you expected to live a hundred years, but might die to-morrow.
  • A few years hence and he will be beneath the sod; but those cliffs will stand, as now, facing the ocean, incessantly lashed by its waves, yet unshaken, immovable; and other eyes will gaze on them for their brief day of life, and then they, too, will close.
  • O thou child of many prayers!
    Life hath quicksands, Life hath snares!
    Care and age come unawares!
  • Oh, I believe that there is no away; that no love, no life, goes ever from us; it goes as He went, that it may come again, deeper and closer and surer, and be with us always, even to the end of the world.
  • A picture without sky has no glory. This present, unless we see gleaming beyond it the eternal calm of the heavens, above the tossing tree tops with withering leaves, and the smoky chimneys, is a poor thing for our eyes to gaze at, or our hearts to love, or our hands to toil on.
  • Let the current of your being set towards God, then your life will be filled and calmed by one master-passion which unites and stills the soul.
  • There is no human life so poor and small as not to hold many a divine possibility.
  • They waste life in what are called good resolutions—partial efforts at reformation, feebly commenced, heartlessly conducted, and hopelessly concluded.
  • Nor love thy life, nor hate; but what thou livest,
    Live well; how long, or short, permit to Heaven.
  • The grand question of life is, Is my name written in heaven?
  • This earth will be looked back on like a lowly home, and this life of ours be remembered like a short apprenticeship to duty.
  • As one climbs a mountain roadway, and looks off on the landscape through the forest trees or from some overtopping crag, at each step he sees more and more of the outlying beauty of field and lake and forest and hill and river, till he reaches the summit, where the whole vast scene opens to the view, and enthuses his soul with delight. So life should be a constant lookout, through the gray mists, through the falling shadows, through the running tears, till he comes to the shining top of life in God Himself, where the fogs lift, and the shadows fall, and the view is all undisturbed.
  • The end of life is to be like unto God; and the soul following God, will be like unto Him.
  • I believe that we cannot live better than in seeking to become better.
  • I would not choose to go where I would be afraid to die, nor could I bear to live without a good hope for hereafter.

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